An Independent Media for Scotland?


One result of the independence campaign has been that power has been exposed. Which politicians and businesses share a common interest, how the media operates and how information is distorted and ideas abused as all been opened up.

What we propose is a media buycott. While a boycott withdraws money from specific companies or countries, a buycott redirects funds to specific companies or projects. A boycott is a negative, a buycott is a positive. We’d like to lay out what our role in a new media landscape looks like, and ask for your support to make it happen.

The importance of a more diverse open media has never been clearer. There is massive imbalance across print and broadcast output in Scotland.

Don’t believe us. Paul Mason, Newsnight’s former economics editor (now at Channel 4 News) has said of the state broadcaster: “Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this. So glad I’m out of there.” On Twitter, he also posted a link to a YouTube video claiming that the BBC had been “completely biased and unbalanced in their reporting of the referendum”, adding the comment: “Media students, journos, (coughs loudly) this is well worth watching.” It is also true however that “A political movement never flourishes by blaming its defeats on the media, or by deploring the motives or gullibility of the electorate”.

Blaming the media isn’t constructive, creating a better one is. So let’s do it.

We are committed to delivering fresh content that has a good gender balance and a commitment to new young writers at it’s very heart from the start. We are also committed to continuing to address difficult cultural and identity issues, as well as creating a space for voices that are not often heard in the traditional media.

Here’s a simple outline of the development plan for Bella Caledonia. If you like the direction we’re going, we are asking for donations to support our work.

Our plan has six strands:

1. Strengthening the Editorial Team. We want to maintain a full-time editor post, to manage and oversee the whole project and to produce the site. We want also to create six editorial posts in the following areas: international, community, arts, innovation, social justice and ecology. Why these?

We have been through a period of intense introspection and we need to re-assert an internationalist outlook at the centre of our media world. Community action for change and a grassroots approach has been at the heart of the Yes movement, and we need an editor to keep focused on that. Arts and creativity has played a vital role in the indyref and we need (much) more of it on Bella. If we’re really about change then we need someone looking at Innovation in Scotland (and anywhere). What works? If we are into change we need to know what’s changing and who’s driving it. Social (in) justice has been the driving force of the whole movement. It will remain so. We need someone to give special focus commissioning and writing on inequality. Finally, ecology: this is the biggest challenge we face as a species. We want to combine ‘big picture’ with local grounded reality.

These will be posts paid a small monthly fee and we will advertise details of the open application process soon.

2. Video News Coverage. We want to create five news video journalist reporting on the parliament, the movement and from their own communities. These would be video journalists researching and producing stories for the site broadcast on our own vimeo channel.

3. Citizens Journalism Training . We want to create an informed active citizenry by rolling out a series of training events around the country teaching people how to: shoot and edit video, write an article, use Twitter and Facebook effectively, public speaking, photo editing, blogging and other skills. This is based on the need to shift away from creating new monolithic media structures and instead creating a general empowerment. This is not simply about the blogging community, nor an extension of the media, but ‘networked individuals’ enabled by the internet in ways that can hold power accountable. Some people call this movement ‘the Fifth Estate’.

4. Closer. Each quarter we want to publish our magazine, ‘Closer’, which will allow us to focus on a different theme each issue and let writers write longer pieces than they can online. This allows us to commission more reflective analysis and not always be responding to day-to-day events. It also allows people to share printed hard-copy with readers who are not online.

5. Volunteers. Bella has been volunteer-run for all of its existence (since 2007). There are key jobs we need help with and are open to offers. We’ll be hosting a writers and volunteers event and asking anyone to come and step forward. Creating more resilient structures isn’t about moving to solely paid roles and we know that some people have time, but not money, to give.

6. Collaboration. This is only one part of the bigger picture. We’ll be taking part in a special Yesmedia conference in the coming month that will explore what other groups are doing and look at maximising collaboration and co-operation. It may be that other projects can be hosted with Bella or that joint working can maximise the impact of these initiatives. We are open to other people ideas on radio, print or web media projects.

* * * * *

We remain committed to the web. We will have streams or channels on Vimeo, Scribd, Kiltr and other platforms. We will also be creating revenue streams through transforming our advertising and marketing programmes.

There will be some housekeeping too. We’ll be upgrading the website, introducing better proofing systems, shifting over to Airdrie Savings Bank, launching our dot.Scot domain.

* * * * * *

donate2What can you do to help? You can make a small monthly donation of £5 or £10 a month by direct debit, or more as you like.
You can make a one-off donation £10 or £50 or £100, £500 or £1000. Give us what you can. No amount too small (or big!)
The question remains: do you want Scotland to be an independent country? Our answer remains: Yes. The other question is do you want Scotland to have an independent media?

Comments (176)

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  1. brobof says:

    Am preparing a introduction to twitter article will post on pastebin. Ready for Monday fingers crossed..

    You might try contacting if you haven’t alrready 🙂

    1. bellacaledonia says:


      1. brobof says:

        Twitter Article Here. Please make free use in whatever way you need.

        I have another idea in preparation… (Big tease that I am.)

  2. sgoilear says:

    In light of the interest in the performance of the media in Scotland, I’d suggest either a dedicated media section or make it a specific part of the arts editor’s brief.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Good idea

    2. Mountain Dog says:

      (worth reading this and its nothing to do with football :-), it’s a complaint submitted to UN)

  3. literacyadviser says:

    Reblogged this on Bill Boyd – The Literacy Adviser and commented:
    One of the interesting aspects of the – temporarily derailed – Scottish campaign for independence has been the exposure of institutionalised bias in the UK mainstream media and the consequent flourishing of citizen journalism, a trend which looks set to continue worldwide. Here, Bella Caledonia, one of the more successful online news channels, outlines the ways in which we, as citizens, can now write and broadcast the news rather than simply consume it.

  4. Sean McNulty says:

    Great project but more specifics needed on how we contribute, apart from the Donate button. E.g. do volunteers email you, volunteer in this thread, or what?

    The demand for indy media is sky high at present, as evidenced by Broadcast News for Scotland, as you know, blasting through their £10000 target within half a day.

    You’d do well to make it as simple and easy as possible to sign up right now.

    Just a suggestion.

    Anyway, best of luck with this, and it’s good to hear you talk of collaboration. We don’t want our energies spread too thinly at this point.

    “They call it denial and bitterness. We call it Round 2. Ding ding.”


    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi – yes we’ll be having a volunteers and writers day (as we say in the post). Broadcast News is a rest project which we fully support but quite different from this. We have a track record of seven years and now monthly views of over 1 million. This isn’t small-scale…

      1. Sean McNulty says:

        Hi Mike.

        Really sticking my oar in now, but here goes…

        I’m concerned at the announcement of three new broadcasting projects in 48 hours — yours,, and now newsnet and Bateman combining.

        Seems daft to jump from zero unbiased TV outlets to three like this. Shouldn’t we put all our energies and money into one such project for now? There’s a danger here of spreading the current enthusiasm and cash too thinly, no?

        I’m guessing you all know one another. Hasn’t joining forces been discussed? I mean specifically for a TV venture.

        If I’ve missed something and you *are* all joining forces then I apologise and give myself a clip around the ear.


        1. bellacaledonia says:

          We are open on all frequencies and actively contacting these people. We (Bella) are not in the business of setting up a tv channel or starting a newspaper. We are offering something different. Its about Peer to Peer (P2P) media – many to many. It’s a different model. We fully support the other initiatives and wish them well.

  5. Graeme says:

    this is very exciting but we desperately need a more collective & wide ranging outlet (one that visually challenges the MSM/TV also on terrestrial TV and a newspaper which reaches the masses not just the converted). To achieve this all groups need to be involved, from perhaps Business for Scotland with their business nouse (Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp has media experience & am sure they could influence funding), National Collective & Common Weal (Robin McAlpine) have certainly expressed their views on a theme of common collective space & a larger MSM presence, then we have Wings over Scotland (now potentially backing Jack Foster). I would like a broad collective tapping into all of these wide ranging groups with their boundless energy, talent and experience. It would also give more balanced output and clearly a larger budget so more chance of mainstream presence. Also, with even more disparate groups than ever before we really need a collective group, this will prove invaluable for engaging new folk, staying engaged & conversant in all aspects of the movement.

    Can you reply or elaborate?

    1. Domhnall Dods says:

      I’d echo all of the above. Plus Derek Bateman and newsnet Scotland are doing something similar.

      YYou might also want to cover law. I was at a seminar this afternoon at Strathclyde uni on freedom of information. We ended up discussing the need for a written constitution. Spurred on by of all people Aidan O’Neill complaining about the supreme Court. The campaign for FOI recognise that a constitution is needed and are looking at how to campaign for it. They could be useful allies for you. But tell us where and how to donate.

    2. rosestrang says:

      I agree Graeme, the diversity of groups is healthy but an alliance of these is stronger, though with Bella Caledonia delegated as a main media outlet. Also it pools information in one place

      I completely agree with this article on the fact that the Yes campaign has been an excellent eye-opener re’ media manipulation and bias

      1. fynesider2 says:

        Some form of alliance is needed between yourselves, SBS, Derek Bateman, Newsnet, Wee Ginger Dug & Wings if for no other reason than the simple one of finance. The SBS (Indegogo) appeal has, last time I looked, topped the £30k Mark. While there is a bottomless pit of enthusiasm there isn’t, I would suggest, a similar pit of funds in reader’s pockets.

    3. muttley79 says:

      We really do need a daily national newspaper that is going to support independence, or at the very least Devo max. Some have suggested that a wealthy Yes supporter(s) buys the Scotsman. I do not know if that is possible, but I do think we need the support of a daily newspaper.

      1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

        I agree Muttley that we need a printed newspaper rather than another virtualmone or magazine.

        The people we did not convince probably believe what the see on the BBC and what they read in the Record / Sun with a few it is the Mail.

        For rediffusion media it must be via steam connection rather than the whiz bang t’internet, because they do not do t’internet, unlike the young. Facebook, Twitter, Linkdin, blogs, posting; no way José.

        Peoples’s Friend, Sunday Post, maybe at Private Eye size with a bigger friendlier type face (eyes deteriorate with age)

        It must be useful as well, and not just for the budgie cage. How about tenant rights, Council numbers, benefits advice etc etc etc. They needto keep them for reference and will also read them as well.

        we don’t have much time before 2015 WGE.

        Another idea would be a joint venture or aided buy out of the Sunday Herald, with blog articles, trailers and maybe web TV or directTV leads and publicity for the Sunday Edition, which could also be semi tabloidised like the Indie?

        Million and one ideas, not enough time and probably not enough money.

        You would need a very rich backer to but the Scotsman and another to fund the continuing losses.

        Tired and off to my bear pit.


      2. bellacaledonia says:

        I agree. My point is that not every initiative has to do everything. We are part of a broad movement with diversity at its heart. TV, audio, print and online media are mutually interdependent.

      3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

        No argument here to Bella, their reply to mine further down a bit.

  6. LindaMcC says:

    Very exciting!
    Sent you an email the other day regarding print production, let me know if I can get involved.

  7. bellacaledonia says:

    We’re in ongoing conversation with a number of people, and I am on the board of Commonweal, so we will be working closely with them. I don’t believe in going in to print but happy to support others who do.

    Our target for this is to create ambitious but resilient structures. We had more than a million views last month – so we already have a platform from which to build.

  8. Brendan says:

    Great idea. Would like to get involved somehow. Mostly what I can offer is time and enthusiasm.

  9. AbuEmma says:

    Agree with Graeme that we may need a more collective and wide ranging outlet. I am keen to contribute but will wait a bit to see what else emerges. Love Bella, but many other groups have also contributed greatly to the campaign.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Of course they have, that’s why we say ‘we are only part of the picture’. There’s lots of good initiatives emerging and we are having good conversations with many of them. A new radio venture is a good idea, but we could be platform that gives them a far widower profile.

  10. Para Handy says:

    I saw a lot of yes support plus some interesting #indyref work on Central Station:

    Might be a place to look for an art person?

    I would like to see a discussion about what expats can do to help. In some ways I feel a little powerless (excuse the obvious irony) down here in the South-East region of the UK.

    One devious thought I had was to vote UKIP and then no to staying in the EC… 🙂

  11. mic1973 says:

    Is a buycott not the usual result of a boycott?
    On that subject though, isn’t it about time we all looked where our money is going –
    who it funds and supports and then who they fund and support – and did everything possible to redirect it to those with our (humanity) and the planets best interests at heart ?
    The same goes for our information – where did it come from and who are they linked to by money
    and motive ? This one’s a bit more complex, I’m guessing.

    1. mic1973 says:

      I mean everything – banking, food, clothing, energy supplies, media – consider changes to who and what you fund.

  12. muttley79 says:

    As others have said, I will support Bella, but we do not need to expand significantly. I feel that being reliant on the internet could become a significant problem, causing the independence/meaningful home rule movement to stall. As someone else has said we are in danger of peaching to the converted, and not reaching those we need to persuade.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      We have no intention of preaching to the converted and have a marketing pan to resist that trap. This is a significant expansion and in conjunction with other efforts will have an impact.

      1. Mike & Kevin, I’m a filmmaker and video editor based in Leith and if you need filming and editing done in Edinburgh please, please get in touch. I have a fulltime job until end of January or so but should still be able to help out on weekends and weekday evenings if need be, and after January 2015 I’m almost certain to be available full-time. I want to win the next referendum whenever it’s going to be decisively and I’m tired of working in customer services. I want to work in the new independent media. So do give us a shout.

  13. jaffamcneill says:

    Might you even move onto something better than WordPress?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Yes – we are looking to upgrade the site too

  14. Conrad Hughes says:

    So I note that you say you’re moving to Airdrie Savings Bank, but your donation page co-ordinates are for a Lloyds TSB account; should those of us who want to set up a standing order wait until you’ve moved?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      No – please give now – and we’ll sort out asap

  15. please could space be found, especially in Closer, for creative writing? Scotland has such a wealth of poets and fiction writers, who have long maintained cultural independence. Specialist editors can be found!

  16. Fed up with the lies and propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    When half of the Scots population who for voted Independence is not represented by the media, with every newspaper, magazine publication coming out in support of the NO campaign. You know the press is about as bent as a spiral staircase.

  17. James Sneddon says:

    A great step forward. I’ve already doubled my monthly direct debit to the team. In regards to training citizen journalists have you considered the Campaign for Freedom Of Information courses on getting the most from FOI, data protection and Environmental information regulations for journalists? I might be telling you how to suck eggs but I remember them doing some great courses a few years ago in this area.

  18. This is an excellent move.

    I’m keen to support all the emerging post-indyref media ventures, and trust that you’ll all talk with each other and collaborate wherever that helps but also keep your distinctive philosophies and approaches.

    Our strength lies in the magic combination of our autonomous diversity and our strong solidarity.

    Here’s to the deeper independence we are declaring despite the lies.

    Happy to be your correspondent in the Congo (where I am working on community land rights just now)!!

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thanks Justin, consider yourself the Congo Correspondent

  19. Douglas says:

    Well done Bella, all the best with it, though one point: writing you can learn, but you can’t teach….

  20. Albalha says:

    So Kevin and Mike where is the YesMedia event or is it invite only like the Common Weal Winston Lodge meeting?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      We’re not the organisers – but I think it’s a fully open public event / conference. Will publish as soon as we hear the plans.

  21. Ken Fisher says:

    Given the demographics of the No vote, I would suggest that the older generation is key to Yes. Feeding some of your content to channels for older people will be really important. Channels such as print, common interest clubs (e.g. Men’s Sheds), volunteer networks (e.g. WRI, churches), opinion formers on voluntary committees and the like.

  22. James Coleman says:

    There is a bewildering array of new projects being mooted by all and sundry, few giving any details, apart from grandiose ideas about what is required. So I will pass until it all becomes clearer.

    One thing I AM sure of is that we lost in part because of the misinformation given by Red Top newspapers and BBC/STV to those folk who did not have internet access. So the most important new media needed is one that is addressed to those people via normal news channels. Anything else is a waste of time. Internet savvy people already know how to get the facts.

    We need a dead tree newspaper and a free to air broadcaster.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      This has quickly become the orthodox truth, but I’m not sure if it’s right. Mimicking the models of the print media could be fatal. ‘We’ an ‘indy media’ would suffer the same logistical issues as ‘unionist’ media do. The print media are in trouble not just because they support the wrong parties.

  23. rosko patrico says:

    The news is on repeat, it’s easily duplicated. Before going too deep into it, essentially you want to look into the service design.

    I’d move away from the word boycott, it’s really the opposite of that and revolves around choice. Encourage, support, use.

    The tools to broadcast have essentially been democratized, but the old fashioned journalistic skills are what’s needed. The license fee of 1.6million people would certainly begin to drive this, the money saved not buying print material would drive this. Might be nice to donate based on what you would normally have spent in a shop. I donated 45p today and i didn’t buy such-and-such a newspaper. Day by day this would tally up.

    There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone copying and pasting the news from any newspaper to any website. We could essentially have fun remixing it.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      We have moved away from the word boycott.

      1. rosko patrico says:

        Sorry i guess i was informing myself more than anything:) I quite fancy making something for BellaTV. We start off small, focus on the quality. Right now i think we just continue debunking and try to build collaborative projects. Emphasis on good storytelling, spin offs will happen all over the place with the right encouragement.

    2. Sean McNulty says:

      “There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone copying and pasting the news from any newspaper to any website.”

      This is an excellent suggestion.

      A comprehensive news aggregator with an indy slant would be invaluable and inexpensive, either by itself or as part of a megasite, especially in the run-up to elections.

      Also useful would be a central team refuting MSM anti-indy/Scottish hysteria ASAP and arming campaigners with the facts needed to do the same online and on the doorsteps.

  24. benmadigan says:

    really do hope the initiatives are all co-ordinated well and that each participant puts Scotland First.
    This is not the time for petty rivalries. Indpendence supporters would be happpier and readier to support a united effort to provide a decent service.
    For example if a TV or radio channel/newspaper/magazine is set up I cannot see why each strand of the movement cannot have a slot to develop its own particular point of view.
    i would hope it would also link into the 3 main independence parties SNP, Greens and SSP – what they’re doing/not doing and why

    Whatever is decided, the new media need not be news only but could include discussions,local issues, interviews etc with activists in different areas and so on.

    The major points are 1) it has to be seen/read/listened to by the 55% who voted NO and 2) to engage them it has to provide local coverage, dealing with issues they may feel strongly about e.g. fracking in my backyard, alleviating poverty in my town, improving local public transport etc all this within a general framework of demanding the promised Home Rule from Westminster and campaigning for the maximum number of Independence MPs in the forthcoming General Election,

    1. muttley79 says:

      I agree with you. Good post. I am concerned that egos get in the way of progress.

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      Good points. I can assure you we are putting Scotland first and are open to collaborations. I totally agree that the long term plan should be to have a wide appeal beyond the ’45’.

  25. I wish you well – speaking as a pro-independence Welshman, any increase in media independence in the nations of this island would be wonderful.

    So the points below are intended in a constructive spirit.

    Restricting yourself / yourselves to creating new media ‘for Scotland’ alone may be counterproductive. Two examples come to mind.

    1.There was no media in Wales to challenge Labour MPs supporting ‘Better Together’, despite widespread working-class discontent with the party in a historical heartland, and growing support for Plaid Cymru. Our ‘national newspaper’ is called The Western Mail, which is a bit like calling a Scottish paper The North Briton. When the next Scots referendum come I want Labour MPs here to support Scots independence – or at least to shut up for fear of a popular backlash.

    2. Similarly, there is a growing movement towards serious regional identity in the North of England – which is what the Tories are trying to stop by seeking English-only representation at Westminster, rather than in a new capital or dedicated English parliament. There is no media sector (even in cultural journals) currently aiming at this area. The North has a population of 15 million or so, meaning there’s serious media business opportunities there, alongside the political interest for Scotland in changing the terms of Northern debate.

    I really don’t know how this point could be acted upon. Obviously, you’re going to be pretty busy. But perhaps building Northern and Welsh correspondents into your international media planning would be a start. After all, you are aiming to change the meaning of ‘international’.

    In terms of media strategy, watch out for acceptance of mainstream understandings of what it means to be ‘alternative’. After all, you wish to be a part of a new Scottish mainstream, not the alternative. Three relevant examples strike me here, on looking at your mission statement above.

    1. Gender balance is a good principle, but it is much less important in correcting social inequality than simply hiring poorer people – which you haven’t mentioned.

    2. Not all ‘new’ writers or journalists or film-makers are ‘young’, and not all ‘young’ writers etc are ‘new’. And neither term always means ‘good’. Scotland (like anywhere else) has many socially engaged writers and activists who are independently minded – and therefore have never worked for the current establishment. It would be a shame if you, or other actors in the new Scottish media, were to pass those people over because they’ve been principled for too long. On a connected note, you may wish to give opportunities to working pro-Yes media types who want to leave what’s now a toxic environment for them. If you don’t, they’ll be out for revenge sooner or later.

    3. Popular engagement with the media you create is more important for your future than tackling ‘difficult’ or ‘serious’ issues. It’s not an either / or point, but publishing worthy or difficult work ahead of entertaining work wouldn’t be good.

    Once again, good luck. I’m glad so many Scots are organising instead of mourning.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      These are all good points, noted. I think gender balance is vital, and we DID mention social inequality, in fact we will appoint a new editor to focus on that issue – and to entice, encourage and train people who might be excluded.

      WE didn’t say that all ‘new’ writers are young, or that all ‘young’ writers are new. We intend to be deliberately inclusive and we intend to be ‘good’.

      Tackling difficult issues is important.

      Thanks for your support and considered input

      1. kate says:

        Re feminist perspectives and coverage of issues which particularly effect women (as distinct from writers’ genders) that isn’t mentioned : what about regular contributions from women in indy and other feminists and women’s organisations?

      2. 1314 says:

        You didn’t comment on our Welsh friend’s suggestion of including contributions from the North of England and Wales.

        YES supporters have been, in some ways, portrayed as outsiders within the UK (world?) community. That is much harder to do if we have support from/commonality with others.

    2. Marconatrix says:

      Nosuchthingasthemarket @
      Slightly OT perhaps, but I’d certainly like to hear some analysis about how the situation in Wales, especially the Labour heartlands, compares with the Scottish experience, why the Welsh haven’t been able to use their assembly to enhance the nationalist cause in the way that Scotland has used its parliament, and generally what’s the outlook now for Wales. The impression I get is that Scotland is driving the agenda UK-wide and Wales is getting dragged along rather that setting out its own vision. Also, had we got indy last week, I wondered if Westminster would take its revenge on Wales by e.g. rolling back devolution there. We need ‘Welsh correspondents’, but ideally the info flow should be two-way. Also there will be times when political/campaigning co-operation might be useful.

      1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you on these points – I didn’t notice your comment until just now. I’ll give very brief replies to some of your points now, but it would take a thesis (or many posts, only some of which I’ll eventually write) to cover everything.

        First, and most important. Your first impression is essentially correct. Scotland is indeed driving the agenda. Even though it’s taken a while for me to get back to you, that’s still the case. But it would be overstating the case to say that Wales is even being ‘dragged along’. It’s standing still.

        Why? The points below are not exhaustive, but they’re a start. And they’re not in order of importance, because they’re co-constitutive.

        Firstly, because of the shape of the initial devolution settlement. The Bill establishing the Scottish Parliament essentially devolved all governmental powers apart from specified exceptions (please don’t interpret this as saying Scotland got a great deal, btw). The Bill establishing the Welsh Assembly, by contrast, exhaustively lists all powers that are devolved to the Assembly, and retains all other powers at Westminster. To do anything at all in the Welsh Assembly is thus far more complex than to do far more significant things in Scotland.

        Second, Welsh nationalism is weakened precisely by the relative strength, and the areas of geographical strength, of the Welsh language. Whilst the language has not been Plaid Cymru’s primary focus for over thirty years (at least) you’d be hard-pressed to find a Welsh language activist who’d be willing to vote for anyone else. Or a Welsh-speaking farmer who’d admit to voting for anyone else. Neither Irish nor Scots nationalisms have been hamstrung during their periods of greatest political success by the presumption that they should act first as a cultural movement. And the socialism and republicanism common to both were actively repudiated by Plaid’s greatest thinker in it’s early life. Seriously, Saunders Lewis actually advocated ‘deindustrialisation’ in the 1930s.

        Again, whilst it may seem like I’m talking about ancient history, the lines drawn in that era have not been entirely erased – despite the fact that Plaid is now led by a south Wales socialist to whom Welsh is a second language.

        nb. The prominence of linguistic nationalism would have a rather different meaning if it weren’t for the fact that teachers of the language actively welcome prolific use of English ‘loanwords’, and recoil in horror at presenting anything that appears difficult or requires memorisation. Even fluent Welsh speakers, consequently, overwhelmingly use English in (for example) arithmetic, science, musicology and political science.

        Third, media. We don’t have any. I repeat, any. At all. There is a popular myth that Wales has a Welsh-language tv channel called S4C. But even Welsh speakers don’t watch it. Partly because most of its output is one soap opera with scenery that shakes and actors who all live in one Cardiff street (I may exaggerate, but not much). Two small and threatened literary journals (Planet and New Welsh Review) represent the educated lay perspective of Wales, whilst our academic sphere …

        Four, the academic sphere. The Welsh universities (from management perspective, which is the one that matters with regard to the modern university) essentially regard Welshness as something akin to political correctness or minority representation – at best a selling point and at worst a nuisance. This is especially the case with Cardiff, which has its eyes set on the aim of becoming a major English university.

        Perhaps here it’s worth mentioning the nature of Welsh historical study. I may be up to ten years out of date, as that’s when I completed my doctorate and happily left academia. However… at that point modern Welsh history writing divided into two schools. From the ‘left’ the claim was that English-speaking South Wales was radical, socialist and populist, whilst the rest of Wales wasn’t. Perhaps the epitome of this approach is Dai Smith, who came to give a lecture in Aberystwyth, talked about the wonderful radicalism of ‘South Wales’ in the 1930s amidst insults to ‘North Wales’, and then ran (yes, ran) to get the last train back to Cardiff. Nowhere in his writing does he address the fact that one of the most radical areas of the south Wales coalfield during that era was almost entirely Welsh-speaking… From the right we have cruder followers of K.O.Morgan, who insist on seeing all socialist radicalism as essentially posturing, and perceive Wales as a moderate nation characterised by pragmatism. Tonypandy, Nye Bevan, Cymdeithas yr Iaith etc. are mere inconveniences in this deathly tedious Labour-Party-minutebook version of history. Under the impetus of this quasi-Blairite crew the ‘Society for the Study of Labour History’ became the ‘Society for the Study of People’s History’. Ho hum.

        Five, geography. Wales has three major communication arteries, whether you’re talking about road or rail. One runs west to east from Holyhead to Birkenhead, Manchester and Liverpool. One runs west to east from Aberystwyth to the West Midlands. One runs west to east from Swansea to Bristol and London. Money and young people flow eastwards, whilst poverty and pensioners flow westwards. The destruction of the coal industry (please, get independence before they syphon off the oil) has left tourism, the state and pensioners as the main economic activity. Tourism has the effect of inflating housing costs, so that poverty is exacerbated. Poor public transport means that this does not have the effect of resulting in public engagement, but the reverse.

        Six, pacifism. This is interdependent with particular understandings of ‘feminism’ and ‘environmentalism’ which closely resemble the acceptable and establishment face of nineteenth century ‘Radicalism’. I’ll look further at this point on another occasion. For now, though, I’d suggest that there is an effective limit to the hegemony of ‘pacifism’ over Welsh politics and culture. That limit is the current constitutional settlement.

        I think the Westminster parties contain few politicians stupid enough to threaten the Assembly – although, given the correlation of political denseness with neo-liberal agendas, I am increasingly hopeful.

        I’ll pick up some of your other points and questions shortly. For now, good night.

  26. Billy Carlin says:

    I’m afraid it is not just the media that is controlled – everything is – including every single political party. You do not need a newspaper or anything like it to put out your message because only people with your point of view would read it and most people do not read papers now anyway.

    It is the message that has got to be right to change peoples minds and it needs to go through peoples doors to get them to read it. The SNP had the massage that would have got most people to vote no at this referendum but they did not use it – The real reason that their pension funds, banks and countries are collapsing – the massive fraud being carried out by the Elites with tehe connivance of the Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem parties laundering £trillions into off-shore accounts as exposed by Professor George Lees etc here:

    They would also have walked it by going the Iceland route and by printing their own (OUR) money with NO debt as per the Bradbury Pound/Greenback route with NO need for, or very little, taxation – of course this would put power back in the hands of the people but political parties- especially ones controlled by Elite Private Bankers etc – would not like that.

  27. lowlander says:

    They may have no internet, but do poorer and older people have access to DVD players connected to tv’s? If so, the best way to reach these people may be by distributing free DVDs full of excellent pro-independence films, through their letterboxes.

    1. Marconatrix says:

      Good point there, IMO

      1. lowlander says:

        It’s not a green approach but if older technology is what these voters have, then maybe older technology needs to be used to reach them.

  28. TheWealthOfNations says:

    I think part of what might be useful here would be some sort of meta-media.

    We need to find a way to expose the tools of deceit the media uses in a way that the average bloke in the street can understand and begin to recognize when he sees it.

    If we can begin to educate the public what the likes of a Strawman argument is and what it sounds like when you hear it I think the mainstream media will essentially start to dissassemble itself.

    I was tossing around an idea for a game show that involved using clips from the MSM as the targets of a ‘Just a minute’ type format where the panelists scored points by buzzing in and identifying the basic logical fallacies being used.

    A bit of fun and a bit of brain training at the same time.

    How different would all that stupid coverage on the Beeb have been if there were a panel of moderators that could just butt in and yell ‘ad hominem’ every time the argument became ‘we hate Alec Salmond’….?

  29. Interesting…

    Having trained and worked in TV news, and lectured in TV production for a dozen years, this is obviously an area of huge interest to me. Like James Coleman I reflect on the “bewildering array of new projects being mooted by all and sundry, few giving any details, apart from grandiose ideas about what is required”.

    I reflect, and I worry…

    One of the (to be fair many) reasons I gave up lecturing was that there seemed little point in training people for a closed shop where the skilled were regularly ignored in favour of the merely ‘connected’. The ‘Brillinat Boy’s Club’ being a particular and obvious clique. ‘The other side’ (that, yes; once upon a time, very possibly in a universe far far away, gave this particular Red Road schemie a break) is these days not much better.

    I’m slightly concerned that what seems to be emerging are just new and different cliques…

    For instance the Milngavie Mafia ride (sigh, yet) again, this time in a fabbier and groovier direction by dint of it merely being different. Meet the new media; just as exclusive as the old media and after an appropriate incubation period will very probably be absorbed into it.

    Meanwhile, at the back of the close, where the clothesprops are kept, cardboard boxes and old VHS camcorders are being assembled into a vague facsimilie of a TV newsroom. The dress-up box is out, Mammy’s high heels are missing and it’s live at five from Mockingbird Lane… I’m aware of at least two individuals (operating in a different ‘sphere’ of ‘citizen journalism’ whose failure to read and absorb (or possibly even bother to obtain) the very basics of media law you might find in McNaes, has seen them landed in jail. Not to mention royally effing-up the lives of many people and possibly rendering certain miscreants ‘fireproof’. – Their fanboys tell me they were political prisoners.

    And then there are the cut-glass-Irn-Bru-bottle-accented shiny kids, Last-name for a first-name-types announcing that their Dad has a barn and asking ‘why don’t we do the show right here?’ (Slaps thigh to rapturous applause and cries of ‘yeah!’ from the glowing crowd.) Very similar to the ‘back of the close’ mob except they have three-phase electricity and (inexplicably) a full orchestra.

    As I say, I spent a dozen years teaching TV production. Two years and a minimum of 2400 hours of study to gain a very very basic qualification that might just qualify you to start learning the ropes in a production company and working your way up from there. – Few got that opportunity; every year I found it harder and harder to justify (to myself) convincing kids to join the course. What prospects were there for them really? It’s not what you know it’s who you know and whether your face fits… Not how skilled or talented or well trained or able you are. And it’s that which is at the heart of the rot in our corrupt mainstream media… Those ‘well-connected’ types are placed there for a purpose. And that purpose is to promote and agenda not report the news, not tell the truth, but spin spin spin relentlessly… Croupiers to the Square-Mile Casino?

    What changes in this brave new world? What REAL changes I mean, in terms of honesty and integrity… In terms of real worth?

    I’ll be careful and clear here in saying I’m not citing any one group, organisation or individual… But really, being basically conned by a tweed-jacketed poshboy into crowdfunding him and his mate in beer for the next few months, and possibly buying them a new (and for any serious purpose largely useless) DSLR each? Mad schemes about going FTA à la Edge Media?? ‘My dad’s got a YouTube account why don’t we do the show right there???’ …This seems to be about the level of the proposals so far.

    James is correct… We need a physical newspaper and a free to air broadcaster. We don’t necessarily need the profligacy in terms of production methods we see with the MSM; but the NSM (New Scottish Media) needs to be credible and to a good standard (Edge Media was a great example of howe not to do it!). One of the troubles is that I see little evidence of a body of technical knowledge within this ‘movement’ and in quite a few places I get the distinct whiff of ‘Old Mice’ if not actually the odd rat!

    With some 35 years of experience behind me, all the necessary kit sitting ready to go you’d think I’d be up there beating the drum. And indeed, if the phone goes I’ll be happy to cut acres of ‘slack’ in terms of what I normally charge for my services – providing of course the caller on the other end knows what the hell they’re talking about. And I’m far from alone. Scotland has a surprising number of old (and newly qualified) media pros sitting around on the sidelines But a brave new media for Scotland? Hmm… Well when at last that phone doesn’t ring, then I’ll know it isn’t true!

    I’d be delighted to be proved wrong though! DELIGHTED!

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Your response is in parts insulting and in parts insightful. I know what you mean about the dangers of amateur enthusiasm and exclusivity. But we have been doing this since 2007 and have a platform, a profile and a lot of learning.

      When you say ‘a bewildering array of new projects’ you really mean three. And they are quite different.

      When you say ‘We need a physical newspaper and a free to air broadcaster’ – that may be true, or it may not. There is an over tendency to blame the media for our political failure: “If only those old folks could have got a paper copy of Wings Over Scotland we’d have won”. It’s patronising, simplistic and not very convincing.

      We are inundated with offers of help and trying to respond and get folks together.

      Come help! And thanks for your comment.

      1. mic1973 says:

        You’re right. It was more than the media. Actions were taken outside it by business but then widely publicised by it. You still have the problem of certain people just being loyal/commited
        to their beloved news source for their info.
        Let’s be careful, take our time, keep discussing and make winning decisions.

  30. Quite a few assumptions there… There have been many more than three proposals. And I was careful to be clear that I was not citing any one group, organisation or individual. It’s a general overview. But it’s quite interesting that you seem to only be aware of a particular ‘ingroup’ and have decided that a particular cap provided by me in some way fits and is an insult to you…

    I’ve been ‘doing this’ professionally (among other things, that means I need paying because this is how I feed my kids) since 1979. And an awful lot of water has passed under this particular bridge.

    If you’re ever in London take a walk past the Euston Tower. There is a gap to the left of it where I used to work. – I wasn’t involved myself; but some of my colleagues dared to take on Thatcher. Some say I’m silly for viewing that gap as part of a symbolic razing. ‘It was just market forces’ they say; that’s the official story. Some of the sidelined have different views… A quarter-century on and MSM Acolytes run around attempting to deny it even exists as a cohesive entity. Smugly, ‘we’re not taking [insert dissenter here] too seriously’ trips from their keyboards and lips. Chummily they gather in cliquetastic groups assuring themselves of themselves.

    When, as an 18-year old back in 1980 , I joined Thames I was astonished and upset by the degree to which what was happening wasn’t what was being said in the bulletin. We were taught why. It wasn’t so rabid or overt back then. And to a greater extent there were snappers at heels (Greg Philo comes to mind) . As a ‘mere’ cameraman I was only there to take the pictures anyway. But we were taught why and many were not at ease… I was not, as I say, in any way involved with it, but when Roger Bolton and his team put together “Death on The Rock” many of us shared the opinion that here was a brave piece that defended right-thinking journalism. Here at last was a way forward for a free press in a democratic country. That went well… If you’re ever in London take a walk past the Euston Tower. There is a gap to the left of it where I used to work!

    And here we are a quarter-century on… The blatant dishonesty of the MSM in reporting on indyref was astonishing! Real “Emperor’s New Clothes” stuff… But then we know that don’t we?

    It’s the cheek of them that gets to me. The more often some little MSM arsewipe spouts that they’re ‘not taking [insert dissenter here] too seriously’ or proclaims that they’ve blocked somebody or another of Farcebook or Twitter the more astonished I am by their delusion-driven cheek… Even in the 80’s when we DID control the vertical and DID control the horizontal; I don’t recall a time when this particular group could afford to be so blatant… Not even in private.

    Any move to challenge this is welcome in my book. What worries me is the quality and credibility of the challenges that are being floated.

    What I said was “we need a physical newspaper and a free to air broadcaster” and in that I was merely regurgitating in agreement what James Coleman had written. “We” being something much bigger than ‘bellacaledonia’, Wings or any one individual.

    The reason we need these things is that some DO get their information from those old-style sources that DO control the vertical and DO control the horizontal. And those sources are confident that their target audience are not to be found on social media/internet sites; or at least don’t take those channels at all seriously. Even among the young; there are those for whom these channels don’t matter.

    Printed matter isn’t something I have any expertise in… As a dyslexic TV cameraman it’s not something I imagine I’d be able to contribute to (although I’m quite an accomplished stills photographer too). But it IS something I may buy once a week or fortnight (as I do religiously the ‘Eye’) and certainly something that has its place and role in the world. For that reason I believe it’s something that needs to exist.

    As for joining you… This IS how I feed my kids! That’s why I’ve invested tens-of-thousands of pounds in professional video equipment, and decades in developing the skills to use it. Being sympathetic to the cause of independence I’ll offer any individual or group working towards that agenda the same rates that I do to charities. But I need to eat! For that reason I don’t work for free. No professional worth their salt should undermine their own (or worse still up-and-coming-youngsters’) worth by doing so. No should they ever be asked to do so. – No more than anyone should be ‘asked’ to stack shelves at Asda for free.

    And this brings me round to the very real issue of funding these things and competing directly with the likes of the Brilliant Boys Club… It CAN be done much more cheaply than they do it. But if it’s to present well against the likes of them; and not be easily dismissed the ‘bedroom broadcasting’ of cranks, that won’t be cheap!

    1. TheWealthOfNations says:

      I have to say that I agree with a great deal of this.

      The trouble with the internet is that there is a signal to noise ratio and many of us have a great deal of difficulty determining good information from tin-foil hat raving.

      I thought Phantom Menace was a good film at the time. A great many people have subsequently corrected me. I’m still not entirely sure that they are right.

      What we need is the sort of media that can not only inform us but that can demostrate in a clear and understandable way why we ought to trust their opinion over anybody else’s.

    2. kate says:

      1. Re a newspaper : any possibility of Yes groups and individuals collectively buying the Sunday Herald or distributing it more widely, even only on weekends?
      2. lots of people do both paid work & voluntary/political work
      3. curious to know specifically who you think is on the make for themselves in new media proposed? (i believe this is the potentially offensive part re your earlier post)
      4. i don’t think many people would think that Bella fits that description, but as you wrote on this site i presume neither do you.

      1. 1) I shall certainly start buying the Sunday Herald… Having completely ‘lost the heid’ with my customary Sunday Times (sad but true – put it down to delusions of grandeur) some years ago and abandoned the habit of buying a Sunday Paper it will be nice to reaquire an old habit; if I remember.

        2) Their hats and baloons are, I’m sure, in the post. It costs me money to deploy kit, people etc.

        3) Several examples. But I’m well-enough educated in media law (it was actually one of my specialisms as a lecturer) to name them on some random internet site.

        4) I’ve been quite careful and clear here in saying I’m not citing any one group, organisation or individual… And I’m not going to be drawn into any degree of ‘jigsaw identification’.

        Let’s just say that as the owner of what is one of the oldest corporate video production companies in Scotland, and a trained broadcast professional – I know exactly what things cost realistically. I know what equipment costs, I know what is needed, how much it costs to deploy, staff etc. When somebody asks you for too-little money to meet their stated aims it’s as suspicious as when they ask for too much. I’ve seen examples of both during indyref and am still seeing it.

    3. JeanieDeans says:

      Your comments above and below have been useful, I feel, in keeping everyone’s feet on the ground.

      As a Yes activist I’ve been grateful for the work of Bella Caledonia, Wings, Newsnet, Bateman et al.
      I had thought, perhaps naively, that they might continue as before, albeit growing gradually and organically and perhaps ultimately regrouping and seeking funding.

      I confess I’d almost rather see that happen than rush too fast to become ‘something other’. One of my caveats would have been to take soundings from those with professional expertise, and for that reason I feel your contributions are invaluable. Warnings about pitfalls should be accepted with the same grace as constructive criticism.

      It would be good to see each of our Indy-Media sources playing to their strengths. To date none of them has been ‘all things to all men’ and that in itself was good for readers. We’ve used them all and gained a perspective in the round. I hope they can reach an agreement to continue this diversity rather than seek to replicate one another and vie for readership.

      Bella Caledonia, thankyou and good luck.

  31. Stuart Vallis says:

    I will happily donate again when I am back in Europe and on a secure internet – hopefully December. If you have moved to a new bank can you make available your international banking details, Name of account, place where account is based, BIC, IBAN, I think it would be good if you made it clear on the donations part of website that these details are available on request or just publish on the website for us who follow from abroad. Best wishes with the fundraising.

  32. Mark says:

    I agree. Could we focus on Good writers and not just ” young writers” though please?

    1. bellacaledonia says:


  33. yerkitbreeks says:

    Broadcast News for Scotland, Bateman/Newsnet, and now this initiative. I’ve already donated to the first.

    Has there been any communication between these potential newsmedia, or are we in danger of over-dilution ?

  34. John Page says:

    I am sure there are others much more knowledgeable re funding than me……but would it not be helpful if when things are clarified that we be asked for an annual subscription payable in monthly amounts (maybe via direct debit) rather than just a donation……would this not help with cash flow/future planning?
    Given that I have cancelled the TV licence, I can definitely commit to £12 a month via direct debit
    Another wee point……I used to buy the FT Weekend mostly for book reviews then switched to the LRB having got enraged by Iain Martin and Simon Schama re the referendum……….I could happily dump the LRB when Bella gets going with book and film reviews
    Good luck!

    1. bellacaledonia says:


  35. tartanfever says:


    I read your comments on ‘the old folk vote’ and I disagree with your point on ‘blaming them’ – the wrong phrase to use. If indeed any stats show that older people were more inclined to vote No then surely that is a target audience – whether thats writing specifically for them, or encouraging younger generations to speak to their parents/grandparents about hopes and fears. It’s not blame, it’s understanding.

    You have one question to answer, is the aim of Bella’s new media initiative to promote and campaign for an independent Scotland ?

    If it is, then you will surely have to adapt a media strategy that will bring in those voters.

    If it is not, and it is to promote issues which Yes voters are already aware of, then you run the risk of only speaking to the converted, and that may not be effective.

    My observations, daft as they may seem are this:

    About three years ago, the Christmas present of choice for middle class OAP’s where I live was an i-pad. Everyone I know got one. They predominantly use them for e-mailing each other, sending family photos and possibly watching films or the i-player. They use them with varying degrees of success.

    The first exercise I would promote would be to Generation Yes, to get the youngsters to speak to their grandparents, or indeed 30 and 40 somethings to speak to their parents about independence issues – calmly, objectively and with a degree of care. Then encourage them to use the device for news viewing. Show them that there are other news outlets available, discuss generational differences, hope for the future – all of this will help create family bonds. It was also help OAP’s feel included.

    It seems to me that the tools for viewing alternative media are already in place in many homes, the owners just have to be encouraged to use them for that purpose.

    It’s a cost free exercise that could bring quite a few older readers to join our discussion and to feel part of something.

    1. Jim Stamper says:

      The point about younger members of families / society engaging the older less web savvy members and showing them how to access alternative views is an excellent one. I hope to revive contacts with many who have expressed a Yes view but may believe the MSM that it is over for a generation. This will be one way of getting various age groups re-involved and inspired so we are ready at the first opportunity.

  36. Stuart says:

    I am worried that any new media outlet becomes just a biased pro independence outlet every bit as blinkered as all of the unionist msm.This would be fine if it was only aimed at the 45% but to have any chance of getting attention and respect from the 55% of no voters it would have to be(and be seen to be) searching and critical of all politicians announcements etc.How do we stop it just becoming totally biased and a mirror image of the msm?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      It’s a good point. A better media isn’t one that just reinforces your own views. We are working on that on several fronts. One is to train news video journalists. Blogs and alt media have been (rightly) criticised for doing more commentary than news, and that’s something we’re changing.

      1. TheWealthOfNations says:


        A better media is one that encourages us to challenge our own opinions. The world is not made a better place by us continuing to be wrong about important matters, it is made a better place by us actively hunting down and correcting our misconceptions so that we might better serve each other.

        What I would not have paid to hear just one of the politicians, on either side, in the referendum campaign admit that they had been wrong about something and changed their mind.

        Why do we trust a group of people, pathalogically incapable of admitting error, to govern us?

        We have a legend about a guy that was ‘perfect’ and that ended with us nailing him to a big bit of wood. Is it any wonder we don’t trust an entire ‘political class’ that think that they are the second coming?

        [OT I totally hate the phrase ‘Political Class’. Gives me the rage. The whole campaign was riddled with innappropriate use of the word ‘Class’. Makes me want to cry]

  37. Frosty says:

    could liaise with other independent media sources. Tap into their networks, and gain knowledge from their experience. Could also be a good way of recruiting independent journo’s who have experience in this field, and clearly support the same ideology.
    Sorry if this sounds condescending, but I was just thinking if networks have already been establish, and to set this up with people who have experience on this topic, could surly only be a good thing.

    Sources, orgs, and outlets that spring to mind are – Indymedia (which in under pressure from the state just now, so this could be a gift ) and with Indymedia’s worldwide would maybe be a chance to have on board, would could essentially foreign correspondents /reporters.
    Schnews, – if they keep going – would be excellent resource to get aboard.
    Camcorder guerrillas

    Now I understand some of these might not be for everyone’s tastes, but I was just trying to post as many respected sources in their field. I also feel that if we are to build on this amazing grassroots movement, a nationwide independent media source would be excellent, but should try and be as inclusive as possible.

  38. This is indeed both exciting and inspiring, but let me come at this from another angle, that of the No voter who also recognises the need for some of the changes you define and is anxious to help.
    In recent years I ran for some months the web site Scotland Quo Vadis, it was tough going but we did at least inspire some interesting essays, even although we never really broke above getting three or four hundred hits a day. I’m quite happy to consider restarting this. Then there is ArtWork, Scotland’s oldest and biggest Arts Magazine which is owned and run by Bill Williams, you can probably source a profile of him and his work in pieces I have written in both the Observer and Scottish Review. Bill is also a No voter but equally he is a dynamic individualist who has very intentionally run the magazine without any subsidy and indeed has always refused to take any freebies and even returned his Festival press pass in case he was compromised
    Many heavily subsidised arts magazines have come and gone, some costing the tax payer tens of thousands, Bill has remained
    Bill has now been running Artwork for over twenty five years, normal print run 22000, and distributes it himself all over the country, not a bad contribution from a man well into his seventies . Up until a few years ago he even printed it himself ( I promise you this is true ) on a vast ( circa eight metres long ) printing machine he bought , I think, in Exchange and Mart . Once a quarter he would pour buckets of ink into the beast, turn it on by throwing the electrical switch with a wooden handled broomstick ( huge flash ) and then print off twenty thousand odd copies with the help of two volunteers who would do a shift in exchange for a curry.
    That machine is now very keenly for sale, he keeps it in a shed near Ellon, and I am sure he would be happy to teach anyone how to run it, though be warned it is quite a dangerous beast and not for the faint hearted. It would also cost a good deal to shift it and he needs the space.
    Although I have now been writing a column for Bill for over twenty years I am not in a position to speak for him ( he is currently in Spain) I think I can say in confidence that he is a keen supporter of the independent press and would be delighted to receive submissions either for Artwork or with ideas for new initiatives, He has, for example been talking about launching a new Sunday paper ( Working title : The Sunday Bill) for as long as I have known him. Never mind the theory or the dreams, Bill has been doing what you are talking about for over thirty years and if you are half serious you should speak to him.

  39. nigel says:

    I personally dont think that “no” propoganda nor, for that matter, “yes” arguments made much difference to the 55%.

    I think most of these Scots were always going to vote no.

    I could never fathom how so many of our nation adopt a default position of being for the union, when most clear thinkers know we are being taken for complete mugs.

    In that respect, Scotland must be unique amongst nations in being the only nation which has turned down the chance of winning a multi billion pound lottery!

    A strange nation indeed…

    1. James Gammie says:

      Actually, I don’t think that the outcome of the referendum was pre-determined. As one of the posters above said, the use of the term “class” was very unhelpful. Another misconception is that we could influence the over 65 vote in any alternative media. The only way I can see this being done is by conversations with young members of family, or by infiltrating the BBC. Only one of these scenarios is plausible.

      We will not be able to influence Tory votes to any great extent, although curiously, this group should really respond to the economic argument. The UK state is the equivalent of a zombie company, and leaving on favourable terms is a pretty good deal.

      What we are left with are the Labour voters and/or middle income earners who are terrified of more tax. Both of these groups might say they are not bothered about an extra penny on tax, but when they have exited the polling booth, they will have voted against. This phenomenon has been proved again and again. Fear of greater tax and party loyalty caused many in these groups to vote no.

      The argument to persuade these voters from now on must be on the win-win nature of social justice. It must be hammered home that this is not a dismal zero sum game.

  40. Wylie Horn says:

    Have you purchased the domain to prevent cyber-squatting?

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    2. good point Wylie – I’ve just done that

      1. p.s. by which I mean: I’ve bought it to secure it for Bella not so I can cyber-scot!

  41. JBS says:

    Can we have a section devoted to scurrilous, scatalogical, and defamatory poetry, please? I would definitely want to be involved with that.

    1. bellacaledonia says:


  42. How can I get involved in your writer/volunteer network? I feel strongly that independent media should be created and would flourish in scotland. Let me know! Daire

  43. David Steele says:

    It all sounds good. I would like to help as I have plenty of enthusiasm for it. Scots living in other parts of the UK/World have a valid contribution to make too. Is it a stupid question to ask about what you’ll do with dot scot domain?

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      ,Scot domain—probably sit on it to stop some black op or spoiler team.

      I own the following, which I was going to launch FOC

      Open I mean for people use use as a mail address as

      [email protected]
      [email protected]

      They will be nursed until we are independent.

      I may use them myself and eliminate my google and hotmail addresses as well as their stalking of my nocturnal activities, which do not involve animals or children or unionists.

  44. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Mmm Why am I into pre moderation?

  45. khain says:

    I think your best bet is to do something along the lines of the Huffington Post: a mix of aggregation, blogs, comment etc., open to outside contributors. Run it as a commercial website with contributors getting a share of ad revenue/subscriptions based on page views. I imagine you’ll get a lot of contributors. I don’t think a printed newspaper is feasible in the short run and in the long run most people will be getting the news online. A radio station is possible however. You could start with an internet one and go from there. For a high-traffic website be careful not to underestimate the hosting costs which can be considerable.

    I’m not sure about the existing name though for what you have in mind. I suspect people might associate it with Bella magazine. I think a shorter name that more obviously connotes a news site would be better. There is no harm in having multiple sites if you can get content for them, which I imagine is possible.

    I’m a web developer with a fair amount of marketing and design experience and will be happy to give help and advice.

  46. Douglas says:

    Bella, given we’re talking about the free press, can we just try and be free about a few things:

    A) The vote was not rigged. See Doug Daniels’s definitive piece on that on WoS. Is it possible that Mike Small or Kevin Williamson might dispel the myth once and for all among the masses? Because the masses, “as we know” believe anything you tell them.

    B) There has never been a democratic majority in favour of Scottish independence in modern times. EVER. There might be one day, but to believe that existed 18S is delusional.

    C) Can we, consequently, stop giving air time to those mischief makers who want to blame the No vote in the “Foreigners”, let alone the pensioners. If this doesn’t go unchecked, I will be off Bella Caledonia henceforth.

    D) Can we please get rid of the grudge mentality which has been prevailing on the social media for the last two weeks. My bet is that the best we will ever get is Devo Max. I hope I’m wrong, but the prow of the ship is entirely turned the wrong way at the moment. And yes, we’re heading for an iceberg. The 45% is about to, melt, yes, as all icebergs do eventually, into he 26% or 28%.

    E) If you want a serious media outlet, then you have to pay for it. This idea that anybody can write is utter bullshit. I agree it is “democratic”, but so what? It is a pile of horse that everybody is born “equal”. Half the posts of Bella in the run up to the referendum are about ME. MY journey to yes, MY whatever…people read to get some insight….the only way you will get good indie journalism is if you pay. There are plenty of blogs out there.

    F) Finally, no more writing for free. It is a belittlement of the profession…and please Bella I love you guys, but get a photo editor. You guys post different stories with the same headline photo frequently. It is shoddy and unprofessional….it is atrocious marketing….

    1. Andrea says:

      Sod that!!!…. I’ve had my grudge mentality since Margaret Thatcher …and see no reason to give it up. ..

      Besides Getting Mad is a motivating force

    2. Douglas, I agree with A, C, most of D (it seems the 45 is expanding as more and more of those who voted no are starting to regret it, although I also hate the concept of the 45, it’s exclusive and dragging. I’m going to do some atrocious and shameless marketing here, as a student journo, and give you a link to my blog piece a few days ago, near the end of which I talk about the pitfalls of the “the45” ), E and F-ESPECIALLY F. So basically everything except B.

      But also, I think until Bella expands further, writing for free is the order of the day. xxx

      1. Douglas says:

        Thanks Haniya.

        Writing for free is the norm these days, it is not a particular criticism of Bella.

        Pre 18S it was different, you were doing your bit, but post, I think you have to hope that somebody can get the money together to pay people to write, which is an old fashioned idea these days,

        But these things are personal. Some of the contributors on Bella have written books, and so for them I guess it is a plug. The academics are obviously fulfilling their wide role too when they make a contribution on somewhere like Bella.

        I think the idea of citizen journalism is a well intentioned one, but the balance has to be right, between that and paid journalism.

        In Scotland paid journalism is in the casualty ward, and it is worrying because you need professional journalists, they play a vital role in society. You won’t get the expertise of an Ian MacWhirter or Lesley Riddoch from citizens journalism, at least it is highly unlikely. Years and years of experience and hard work. But they are both great journalists because that is what they have spent their whole lives doing, so they have the expertise.

        I feel that if we embrace the idea of free writing/citizens journalism with too much enthusiasm, it may eventually kill journalism.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          It’s a balance Douglas and we’ll be spelling out how we’re managing that balance in the coming weeks. We have to have the resilience of some paid columnists and the enthusiasm of some voluntary work. We’ll be creating a revenue stream from advertising and from selling on stories by syndication. If we leap to being a purely commercial enterprise it would cripple us, but we can still have some key paid people. Thanks for your thoughts.

    3. Douglas
      I am entirely in agreement with you.
      The referendum result totally surprised me. For a few days, I thought Independence could be achieved. It wasn’t, but 1.7 million people voted yes. A remarkable achievement which ever way you look at it.
      I have no doubt that in the real political world, the SNP is the only vehicle which can be used to harness the energy of the yes vote. It provides the infrastructure, some very talented and committed people and most importantly the funds and the media opportunities for real political influence.
      The “Indy” movement is currently a beast without a head. To steer the ship away from the iceberg of indifference needs some serious work.
      We actually need Sky, the BBC, the newspapers etc to work for us. This can’t be done with independent media. Even in the digital age. They all become talking shops for like minded people and that changes nothing. There will not be any mass boycott of the MSMedia and it is foolish to think there will.
      The SNP actually lost the referendum by playing and arguing to the Man’s strengths.
      I have never and will never argue for Scotland using the word independence.
      Just saying the word implies dependence! And that can only imply dependence on England.
      And of course voters get frightened. It implies some adolescent youth wanting to strike it out on its own without the comfort and safety of daddy and mummy.
      I argued that we did not want independence. We wanted to reclaim the Nation of Scotland which is our birthright and repeal the Acts of Union of 1707 when the 1 per cent sold out their own Nation for private gain.
      It was a little experiment after reading the revised copy of “Don’t think of an elephant”. I wanted to change the frame of reference.
      I pushed further by implying that this would leave two nations and not an rUK. England would have to apply for NaTO and EU membership and that their would be no Security Council seat.
      I was utterly amazed by the change in attitude in the responses by many English friends in Bahrain.
      “So England’s fucked? Never thought of that!”
      Scots responses were more of the Ya wee dancer variety.
      The work to be done is not with the 45. It is with the 15.
      An Indy media achieves nothing and is counterproductive. It just does not have the money or influence.
      Use the tools which are already available. The MSMedia, the SNP. Radically change the terms of reference, not on issues or facts, but on fundamental beliefs. No one listens to facts. Forget them. Better still. Make them up. As long as they are nigh enough, no one will challenge you.
      Conservatives, especially in America have spent billions of dollars over the last 50 years investing in think tanks, media training, access to public news channels, training people what to say and how to say it. 24/7. Beamed directly onto your telly whilst you’re waiting for Corry to come on. Moral and political frames are burned into your brains.
      One guy did an impromptu poll asking punters if they were more likely to endorse Obamacare or Affordable Care. Affordable care won, hands down. Of course, they are exactly the same law. But conservatives had put so much bad spin on Obamacare and repeated and repeated it so often that it became the general consensus that it was bad!
      Anyway. Just a few thoughts………

  47. Not quite 100% in agreement with you Douglas, but some very good points there, particularly E/F

    1. Douglas says:

      My respect for Mike Small and Kevin Williamson at both the personal and the professional level is of the order of 110%. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it to 45% in my opinion.

      But you can’t talk of citizens journalism AND an alternative media to the mainstream in the same breath. Those are two different things. If you want an alternative media to the MSM, then you have to pay people who have expertise in their field. Any expertise comes with years and years and years of effort and study and toil.

      I doubt there is anybody outside of academia who knows Spain as well as I do today in Scotland. In fact, in academia as well. I lived there for two decades. I have spent YEARS reading books about Spain. Mas just called the Catalan referendum today. But there is nowhere – at all – in Scotland that I could pitch a story to today for, say, a 100 quid fee.

      I have written for Bella – and been grateful to them for publishing my havers – but there is no way I would write for anybody for free these days. Not even my own blog, which I just let expire for that reason. I don’t believe in writing for free if you live by the word, as I do.

      I can’t afford to work for free, it is as simple as that….

  48. Pete says:

    Sports. You need to include sports coverage in any news platform.

  49. Douglas says:

    Bella, it’s an exciting time for you, and you deserve a reward for all your work. For somebody to put some money behind you, I mean serious money…

    This is off topic, but still:

    W.C Fields, the American director and comic actor was an alcoholic. And he would take a hip-flask with him every day on the set. And when folk asked what was in the hip-flask, he would say it was pineapple juice. So, one day, when W.C Fields was lining up a shot, one of the crew took his hip-flask, emptied out the malt whisky it contained, and filled it up with pineapple juice. And W.C Fields sat down half an hour later after doing the take and took a swally from his hip-flask. And then spat out the liquid and roared: “Who put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice!!!!”.

    And that is what I feel a wee bit about what has happened to YES since 18Sep, though it would be the other way around. I thought it was pineapple juice, when it was actually whisky. I thought it was civic nationalism – and it largely is – but there are ethnic elements there.

    That there is a side of Scottish nationalism which has emerged which. no, isn’t dangerous, but is unappealing. The “We are the 45” brigade and, “keep your stickers up until doomsday”, and the “it was rigged” and blame the European voters. Why would you single out the way non Scots voted compared, say, to how the fire brigade voted? And in any case, the SNP, very stupidly, published a draft Constitution which did not include equal voting rights for EU citizens (mirroring the current situation for EU voters in the UK).

    And it gets worse. Because otherwise intelligent people like Peter Arnot – I haven’t seen his plays but I’m sure they are very good – talking about Norman overlords and Anglo-Saxons under their heel just days after – surprise, surprise – we lost. A frequent comment BTL on Bella recently.

    Now, Peter, who wrote one of the more penetrating pieces about indie in the run up, should know better. If he works in the world of letters, he should take a look at his Concise Oxford History of English Literature, and he will see that the English revolution against Charles I was conceived of by some – like Milton and the pamphleteers – in precisely those terms, ie, they were ridding England of decadent Norman rule…but the language and the understanding of the problem is totally anachronistic.

    Or this notion that England doesn’t have a radical tradition: What, Milton, Blake, Shelley, Tom Paine weren’t radicals? England has one of the most envious radical traditions in the world, though, true, it has fallen into abeyance since Thatcher…

    …but maybe what has happened in Scotland can help to waken England from her slumber. You open the paper today and you see in the headlines, A) Another war in Iraq (the prequel or sequel or third instalment), B) Cameron on massive benefits cuts and C) a Conservative MP who taken photos of his genitals and sent it to an undercover reporter on the social media. Depressingly familiar: Groundhog Day writ large.

    We are governed by schoolboys, buffoons, and incompetents. But I think that the time has come to look to England, to the Left in England and try to get them to stir into life, to do their bit to deliver radical Constitutional reform.

    I never believed that the Scottish middle class – one of the most avaricious and insatiable and materialistic middles classes the world has ever seen – were going to risk their Sunday shopping at John Lewis’s and their three holidays a year and the their shag pile rugs for a new country. I don’t think that will change in the future.

    But if we can connect with he Left in England, we might bring about the kind of Constitutional reform which will be the first step to the end of the Union. We need them and many of them spoke out for us, not least John Harris, Billy Bragg and many others….

    1. G says:

      I think it’s important to gather the support of traditional conservative voters going forward. There was a lot of talk of the Nordic model as an inspiring example for us. Not exactly something for people to be frightened of is it. Not only that but there are many labour libdem and no doubt snp members who also have conservative values. Honesty. Integrity. etc.. And I’m sure even the hardened socialists have no real desire to rob people of their hard won small comforts. It’s definitely a mistake to blame the tories, I’m sure many/most/all of them(us) have no real desire to see their neighbours starve or watch the bombing of innocents either. Perhaps an obvious point.

    2. I’m afraid that your myths are no better than those of the conspiracy theorists, Douglas. The Scottish middle class is neither better nor worse than any other. No class, age cohort or social grouping did anything en bloc. It’s all a matter of proportions.

      Looking to the Left in England to bring about reform would be a forlorn hope. Putting our future in the hands of others is the reason we are in our current unhappy position. The fact that England has a distinguished radical tradition has little bearing on the current situation. Through the work of Bella, the Common Weal, the Radical Independence Campaign, Lesley Riddoch, Andy Wightman and many others, we have a very well developed agenda for reform. The Left in England remains confused and inchoate. You ran out of credible contemporary examples after John Harris and Billy Bragg! We need the confidence to seize the initiative ourselves. That said, links with like-minded people in other parts of these islands can only be helpful.

      1. Douglas says:

        Graeme, read “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”, in which Scotland is cited on numerous occasions, by Max Weber, and then we can talk. Not baseless assertion. Capitalism emerged in Scotland, England and Holland first and foremost, all protestant countries. Why?

        A Scotsman founded the Bank of England. (Is that a good thing or a bad thing you might wonder?) The main exponent of laissez-faire capitalism was a Scot, Adam Smith. Is it an eccentricity to wonder whether the Scots are much more interested in money than in Scotland? I don’t think so.

        Re, England, yes, of course it is in slumber

        My point: we are in a new situation, we just lost the initiative, and need to reboot, reset and re-think. Harping on in the style of “we wuz robbed” will get us nowhere.

        Why England? Because the parliament which will decide our fate is in England. All of the people you mention above have made a fantastic contribution, but the point is, post 18S, they have no power….what is the problem with building some bridges with England? Bella could help to do that.

  50. Douglas says:

    And what about the fact that three Republican English poets accompanied Cromwell’s coffin to the grave in his funeral entourage? Milton and Dryden and Marvel.

    Or the fact that, if you read Shakespeare, he is almost the only major poet and playwright who never mentions God? Almost never. It was unheard of at the time.

    Or John Lenon, a revolutionary by nature? Or Pink Floyd, and all and all you are is just another brick in the wall? Or Joe Strummer and the Clash? And “Spanish Bombs in Andalusia”….

    Or Orwell, and the wound he got in the throat in Spain (“the wound that will not heal” is how Camus described the Spanish Civil War, and it still hasn’t healed).

    Or Tony Benn or Arthur Scargill even, – for all his many faults, who did understand that the miners strike was a political act by a neo liberal government who wanted to break the unions, and – “you don’t cross picket lines!”?

    Bella can be a bridge to England. To those people in England who want change.

    We had the key to the lock of the Union for a while. We handed the key back. To our friends in England we must look…

  51. hornygoloch says:

    I’m confused by the various aspirations being expressed here. Are we talking about new media outlets which are genuinely independent, beholden to none, and which take a judicious and dispassionate view of current events? I’d support that. Or are we talking about openly partisan media outlets, pre-committed to Independence, and as a result unmindful of other’s points of view? I’d support that, too, as a corrective to the mainstream.

    Which is it to be?

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      too many options. I think in the organised anarchy of the YES side we get all and every option taken up.

      I am all for a mosaic democracy after independence too.

  52. Davie Park says:

    It seems that some folks are trying to segue the independence movement into a general ‘left’ movement. I’d describe myself as broadly social democrat but certainly not a socialist. Whilst many of the groups campaigning for Yes come from a socialist perspective, there are many individuals involved who don’t. This should be borne in mind by those trying to impose a new route-map on the independence movement.

    A further point; the ‘problem’ with the Scottish middle class is not that they are any more avaricious than other countries middle classes, it’s that their status is largely defined by how closely they approximate the cultural and social norms of the middle class of another country (southern English in this case being ‘ the Gold Standard’) with, of course, allowance made for a few couthy idiosyncrasies.
    Their apparent and presumed superiority is threatened if the cache of this ‘gold standard’ is undermined (as it would be by independence).
    They would be left having to face up to a world where their social ‘superiority’ is not immediately apparent and accepted. Left with having to face up to being Scottish in a far more substantive way than they would be comfortable with.

    (Apologies for the clumsy wording – hopefully it doesn’t obscure what I’m trying to get at.)

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Subordinate copy cats then?

    2. Douglas says:

      A lot of truth in that, but I stand by what I said.

      The British in general are extremely materialistic people, and the Scots too.

      They like money. They like things. They like to accumulate things and have a nice house. They are obsessed with class. There is no city in the world as class obsessed as Edinburgh or Glasgow for that matter; a kind of apartheid.

      The Scots practically invented capitalism which is based on wealth accumulation.

      Most Scottish voters think of politics precisely once every four years…

      I have lived in several European countries, and they spend their money having lunch and dinner or enjoying life. Yes, the British know SFA about enjoying life, which is why they die much younger than the south Europeans….

      But anybody who puts their faith in the Scottish middle class is, at the least, an optimist….

      1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

        It is very much a North and South Europe split and is intertwined with religion.

        The Bavarians are not known as the German Italians for nothing.

        Religion is less important than it was a generation and more ago but, the residue of a cultural effect still lingers.

      2. These are banal and bogus generalisations.

  53. I don’t have a problem with capitalism per se. I just think that it should be carefully regulated and it’s spoils more equitably dispensed. I also believe that the corporatocracy which stymies that approach is so entrenched in the Westminster system that no UK wide movement has a chance of derailing it. For me, secession is the only possible escape route. And that’s what my political involvement will be aimed at.

  54. Douglas says:

    True Bugger The Panda….

    Davie Park, happy to be divisive given that the referendum is now over. Or is the idea that we all tow the SNP line until the next referendum in 2034? Sorry, but more of the same homogeneous politics which have put thousand off voting YES.

    In terms of class, if it wasn’t for the RIC’s contribution we would be talking about the 36, or 37, or 28, not the 45.

    And yet you get all these extremely earnest people commenting below the line on Bella saying, EVERYBODY, should join the SNP, as if there is a referendum around the corner. There isn’t. Also if Tommy Sheridan thinks it is a good idea, I would think twice….

    If RIC have mobilized the disenfranchised as they obviously have – there has been nothing like it in European politics for decades; it is the single most amazing facet of the referendum campaign, what the RIC people have done – then I would say RIC would be doing a service to Scottish democracy by setting up a party to represent these people.

    It’s funny, but it tends to be the middle class who don’t like talking about class, and yes, I am also a social democrat….

  55. Davie Park says:

    RIC’s contribution was indeed hugely important and setting up a party to represent the disenfranchised is a grand idea. But shouldn’t the SSP and Solidarity already have been reaping the benefits of this latent support prior to the referendum? For whatever reasons, the idea of independence motivated these people more than a simple promise to fight their corner.
    My opinion is that they saw independence as the game-changer (sorry!) it assuredly is. Without independence, or a form of devo-max which wrenches our resources from the grasp of the political / business cabal in Westminster, I see poor prospects for the systemic changes required to improve their lot.

    On class division, it’s not something I had much experience of in early life. Brought up in a fairly isolated (ex) mining village in East Ayrshire, where pretty much everyone seemed to be in the same boat, I presumed my experience to be universal until I went to university in England in my early 20’s.

    I went to UEA in Norwich, a repository of Oxbridge rejects, and my eyes were opened in a very big way. Perhaps that’s why I saw general pre-occupation with class as a peculiarly English phenomenon. In the job I have had for the last 8 years or so (stacking shelves in a branch of Morrisons in Ayrshire) I see and speak to a fairly broad range of people but still don’t sense that obsession with class that, even in a provincial city like Norwich, was so apparent.

    1. Douglas says:

      Davie, agree with that.

      Any party with the word “socialist” in it is not going to persuade people to engage. That is what is exciting about RIC, they are open to lots of different ideas, they are a heterogeneous bunch, which is why they connected.

      But the old Left Wing parties talk a dead language which was coined about 150 years ago and is a kind withered dogma…nobody can take anybody seriously who believes in any “ism”….do the Tommy Sheridans and Colin Foxes (I think Colin Fox is a very nice guy and very well intentioned man) and the Jim Sillars know what postmodernism is?

      As for the class thing, well, it’s a general point. Britain, in general, is class obsessed. You can’t tell the social class of a Spaniard, a Frenchman or an American down the telephone. We have the fee paying schools and the Oxbridge set and the Edinburgh private schools (25% of children in Edinburgh attend a fee paying school) and we have a kind of apartheid state when it comes to the underclass. Greater Glasgow being a case in point.

      But maybe you can rally around something like: how do we eradicate poverty? I mean, a very practical and concrete thing? What would be the way you could do that which was imaginative and effective and not based on some hoary old 19th century dogma. Which is what I liked about RIC, they are fresh and new and, given we just lost the referendum, offer a better hope for change than the 45% brigade….

  56. It strikes me, Douglas, that you have already done far too much writing for nothing on this string.

    1. Douglas says:

      True enough Graeme.

      I will contest with you at another time and on another thread, somewhere in the ether of the web, the middle class/materialistic thing; now I have to work. But the Scottish middle class probably voted no of an order of something to 2/1. Why? Money, financial security. Naturally, when we are talking about class, we are talking about generalities, that goes without saying…

    2. Douglas says:

      Graeme, I think I catch your drift:

      Scotland good, England bad…

      Don’t rock the boat etc, and the Scottish middle class are like any middle class. Except they’re not. Not like the Irish middle class, not like the Indian middle class not like the…

      ….to turn that line around about all the countries who once formed part of the British Empire never asking to come back, well, what do you know, the Scots just did. Please rule us from London, etc…

      What is the explanation? The fear campaign? Okay, let’s deduct 5% from NO because of the fear campaign. Which leaves a dead heat.

      How do you explain the fact that half of Scotland, a nation which nobody disputes the existence of, prefers London rule to running Scotland’s affairs?

      My explanation is that it is about money: mullah, pasta, dough, bread, cally-dosh.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but what would your explanation be?

      1. That’s a complete misrepresentation of what I wrote. I am, in fact, a staunch anglophile as anyone who knows me will testify!

        And I know quite a bit about the Irish middle class. It’s not so different from our own. I’m just back from Ireland where I discussed the referendum in depth with friends. They were very impressed with the result we achieved and urged us to press on. That money was a factor in the referendum result is no great insight. It’s blindingly obvious. But, in moving forward, we must avoid any dalliance with Spartist idiocy. Remember what happened to the Scottish Labour Party.

      2. Douglas says:

        Graeme Purves, I am not disputing that you are a staunch Anglophile – certainly, I know you to be a reasonable person. So why would you write England off and say there is no point engaging? I have faith in England yet, maybe we might just stir up something there, and what choice do we have anyway? We just lost the initiative and are on the backfoot. We radicalized England with the Bishop’s Revolt in the High Street in Edinburgh 400 years ago which sparked a Civil War, Why couldn’t Generation YES and RIC do the same?

        I’, saying a new route, a new map, a new way of bringing about change.

        As for the radical tradition, they practically invented it single handedly in England!!!

        And, no, I don’t include you in this Graeme, but you have to be blind not to see a thread of angolphobia running through the Scottish blogosphere. If Scottish playwrights are talking about Norman rule, if Scottish academics like Robert Crawford are writing books called “Bannockburn”, what hope did we ever have?

        The MacDiarmid brigade….they will have cost us thousands of votes, as will the Marxist sects….and let’s not forget the blessed Reverend, holier than thou, who references Miliband’s Jewish origin – you have to be crass, so totally crass – or who the other day laments the fact that England is not a “foreign country”.

        Well, a YES or NO result, England would never have been a foreign country to me, though nor is it my home.

        But Anglophobia on the Scottish blogosphere? In abundance….

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          Just writing a book called “Bannockburn” is an example of anglophobia?

  57. Frosty says:

    There is enough FREE media outlets on the web, in fact it’s saturated, just take a look at the links I posted, and thats only a pinch,
    No we need a payed for, national media outlet. Paid for by the people.

  58. Backing what a few others have said, I think you propose an excellent idea, and will try to volunteer where I can – perhaps a hub somewhere pointing people to all areas of the media campaigns be it social media, online articles and SBS would be helpful. Some comments I’ve heard suggest that would be useful as folk don’t know something exists until it’s linked and they come across it by chance.
    There are a lot of talented and creative bloggers, artists and indy journalists – it would be great to see an umbrella which directs the population to each of them to ensure maximum exposure.

    Many thanks 🙂

  59. JWil says:

    It seems that the BBC and other media outlets have decided not to show the handing over ceremony of the Ryder Cup by the First Minister. It doesn’t happen at Wimbledon. It doesn’t happen at major football games. This is just further evidence of BBC prejudice.

  60. J Galt says:

    Can I suggest three further Editorial Posts

    1. AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES – a vital sector to vast areas of Scotland and one where the interests of Scottish producers and consumers is often at odds with UK Policy.

    2. TRANSPORT – Again an area where conflict arises with the UK and one where the “Subsidy” nonsense can be exposed ie. The vast investment in Rail Transport in London is paid for by paltry investment in real terms elsewhere – more money is invested PER YEAR in London Rail for an 8 million pop. than is proposed to be spent over the next DECADE for a pop. of 5 million in Scotland.

    3. ENERGY/OIL/GAS/RENEWABLE – A subject area of vital importance that needs expert input on it’s own.

  61. Douglas says:

    Bella, can’t reply up the page, no space..

    No, writing a book called “Bannockburn” is not indicative of anglophobia, but I didn’t say it was.

    What it shows is a way of thinking. They don’t celebrate mediaeval battles in most of Europe outside of Serbia say, and Robert Crawford – yes, not just an academic, a poet, somebody who is meant to be sophisticated and, in fact, IS sophisticated – chooses to linger on that. And interprets “MacBeth” as an anti Scottish play in some way.

    It is laughable. “MacBeth” is a universal work of genius, as Kurosawa knew, and only a certain kind of Scottish nationalist could think about it in the manner it related to Scotland.

    How could a poet think of “MacBeth” in that kind of way? Bewildering…it’s petty, it’s cramped, it is narcissistic…

      1. Douglas says:

        I’m talking about poets, not these strange amateur enthusiasts..

        How many European poets are writing stuff about a medieval battle? Answers on a postcard…

        But anyway, I recant, the reason we lost is not because of the cupidity of the Scottish middle class and their passion – their greatest passion by some way – for SHOPPING, nor is it down to those people obsessed with our medieval past and Norman rule in England.

        No, the reason, the real reason, is, I think, that The Big Sky was too occupied…

      2. JBS says:

        Oh sorry, I thought you meant the commemoration of battles in general, not the commemoration of battles specifically by poets.

        Is it a vision, or a waking dream? I seem to see John Betjeman, Louis MacNeice, Philip Larkin, Hugh MacDiarmid, and Dylan Thomas, all dressed in pinnies and carrying toasting-forks and dustbin-lids, re-enacting the Battle of Badon Hill…

        Sorry, but I’ve got to do this, the occasion is just too perfect:

    1. It is quite possible to recognise Macbeth as a universal work of genius, as Kurosawa certainly did, and also to be aware that it was conceived as a calculated piece of dynastic propaganda designed to please an English monarch. It is generally a mistake to be dogmatic about the “correct” meaning of art.

      1. Douglas says:

        He was a friggin Scottish monarch who had just inherited the throne of England FFF!! James VI???

        Anyway, yes, “it is quite possible” no doubt about it….it is also very revealing..

      2. John Page says:

        This topic is An Independent Media for Scotland and I hope we can all stick to helping Mike et al as best we can

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          Thanks John …

  62. Douglas says:

    JBS, could you maybe actually give me some specific reference to contemporary European poetry instead of naming a bunch of poets who are dead?

    There are maybe 1 million Scots who can’t afford to buy a pair of shoes – yes I am one of them – more than once every three years. And you get some over paid, trumped up complacent, arrogant and totally bland Scottish academic/poet who goes and write a book called “Bannockburn” on the run up to the referendum….

    …well, frankly, we deserved to lose.

    1. Douglas says:

      A “poet” by the way, who talks in his biography of Burns, of Burns “enjoying sex”.

      Enjoying sex….yes, I’m sure the Bard, who had nine children or thereabouts with three or four different women, would have put it just that way…

      …they don’t have to clean the toilets of Scottish universities, the Scottish academics don’t defecate, these people are above taking a crap….

      You couldn’t make it up.

      Shakespeare is, in fact, not a universal genius but an English propagandist against Scotland…

      Burns “enjoyed sex” with women…

      The Scottish middle class are a bunch of egalitarians at heart, despite all the evidence to the contrary …

      Where are the RIC people? Who was that guy who I met in a pub in Edinburgh from Craigmillar with one tooth in his mouth who was maybe 30 and who was on fire with hope about a change in Scotland through the referendum and who was wearing the RIC badge?

      Those are the people I want to be with, not the sophisticated “whae’s like us” brigade who pass for the Scottish intelligentsia (yes, with the exceptions who always prove the rule)….

      1. Douglas says:

        A “poet” on, what, 50,000 a year?

        How many of them are in Scotland? Probably dozens…or else, yes, why not, that too, “creative writing teachers”….ha ha!

        Has there ever been a poet who had anything to say on 50,000 grand a year? Did Rimbaud earn 50,000 grand a year? Did Fernando Pessoa? Did Lorca? Did Rilke?

        If I was on 50,000 grand a year, I would declare myself a poet too. Why not? They might nudge up your salary…

        A poet always has a loyalty to the truth, not a country, not a class, not a nation…

        What a joke…Bannockburn!!!

        Go jump in a loch, Robert Crawford, et al…

      2. My work is done here. 🙂

  63. What an entertaining and enlightening conversation going on here. Learnt more than I would in one college lecture. Thanks ladies and gents.

  64. Douglas says:

    How many Scottish academics does it take to change a lightbulb?

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Usually a fair few more more there are expressing an opinion.

      1. Douglas says:

        It’s not like your Scottish academic not to express an opinion…

        You mean, probably, an UNPAID opinion?

        Yes, no doubt that explains it….

        Academics are paid for their opinions….and we are beholden to them….the elite…the 1%

        But the joke/question stands….

        How many Scottish academics does it take to change a lightbulb?

        1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

          You make my point Sir.

      2. Douglas says:

        God bless you Panda, though it’s like an old joke….

        How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
        Answer: Japan.

        In this case, my answer would be: “Burns”

        1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

          How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb.


          One to physically change it and 15,000 to share the experience.

          I’ll get my furry eared coat and go.

      3. Douglas says:

        Good one , Panda…

  65. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    and anyway, it would never work. Of them, who knows how to find the fuse box.

    I am done here.

    Academics and light bulbs is another thread.

    1. Douglas says:

      The Academics are half the problem….Ivory Tower/Disneyland/”Egalitarian” Scotland/Bannockburn…

      …reality: 25% of Scotland needing meaningful articulation of a set of very practical problems.

      Did I mention Dickens in the English radical tradition by the way? And maybe it was in Robert Crawford’s “History of Scottish Literature” that I read about the conundrum whereby the most wretched poverty in Western Europe – Glasgow – did not give birth to a Dickens in the last 150 years.

      Well, now we know the answer. All the people (James Kelman excluded, naTurlich) who might have written that novel were prattling on about…. BANNOCKBURN…capisci?

      1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

        Have you read Ralph Glassers, “Growing up in The Gorbals?”

        —-autiographical but for me anyway, evocative.

        then there is a film produced in B & W about the author’s life growing up in a mining village in the Lothians before nationalisation, so it could have been set in the late 1930’s I have it on DVD as it was re released on DVD in France and has a cult status.

        I have forgotten the name and the director / author as I was so overcome during the first ten minutes I had to stop watching.

        I have never had the courage to try again and it is on another place at the moment.

        They are there, Douglas.

      2. Douglas says:

        Yes, they are there, Mr Panda.

        The poverty in the Greater Glasgow area is an affront to common humanity.

        And my feeling is that, post 18S, we would help them more with the RIC and a UK wide movement than a Scottish 45%. Because, now, we have no choice. We just blew it….

        I have no faith in the Scots whatsoever. They are a nation of shopaholics and petty academics and pension plan experts. I am with Renton: it’s shite being Scottish, we are the lowest of the low….

        The Nats got out….well, the Nat vote + 1% or 2%. Well done to the Nats (and yes, a rider: eternal respect for Alex Salmond, who is a national hero. Thanks Alex. You gave us hope. They threw everything at you and you took it. Immense respect and gratitude to Alex Salmond).

        The RIC just changed Scottish politics for ever.

        The RIC are the hope and the young people who have emerged from there are the hope.

        Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I see it…

        I have no faith in the Scottish people whatsoever….

  66. Douglas says:

    “Big Sky”

    Big Sky looked down on all the people looking up at the Big Sky.
    Everybody pushing one another around
    Big Sky feels sad when he sees the children scream and cry
    But the Big Sky’s too big to let it get him down.

    Big Sky too big to cry
    Big Sky too high to see
    People like you and me

    One day we’ll be free, we won’t care, just you see
    ‘Til that day can be, don’t let it get you down
    When I feel that the world is too much for me
    I think of the Big Sky, and nothing matters much to me.

    Big Sky looked down on all the people who think they got problems
    They get depressed and they hold their head in their hands and cry.
    People lift up their hands and they look up to the Big Sky
    But Big Sky is too big to sympathize

    Big Sky’s too occupied
    Though he would like to try
    And he feels bad inside
    Big Sky’s too big to cry

    One day we’ll be free, we won’t care, just you wait and see
    ‘Til that day can be, don’t let it get you down.
    When I feel that the world is too much for me
    I think of the Big Sky, and nothing matters much to me.

  67. Douglas says:

    And goodbye to Bella and the social media, and goodbye to all those fantastic contributors, above the line and below the line.

    I have spoken far too much, and yes, far too loudly, and so it is time to disappear for a while but, like so many Scots, I am so totally gutted to the very heart that’s what it is- that my fellow countrymen have chosen the Tories over an independent government – a plague on both your houses; the Tories and the Scottish Tories with egalitarian bells on – and, so, goodbye, with a sad song from Mexico called “In The Last Swally”, by the immense Chavela Vargas (share and share alike)…which is while I feel like we are tonight, in the last swally of a very depressing, long, dark night…

    Drink this wee bottle with me
    And with the last swally, we’ll go…

    I want to see what your forgetting tastes like
    Without putting your eyes to my hands…

    Tonight, I’m not going to beg you
    Tonight, you’re truly going
    How difficult its is to forget you!
    Without ever feeling that you no longer love me

    Nothing have the years taught me
    I always fall into the same mistakes again!!
    Once again, to be toasting with strangers!!!
    And to cry for the same pains again!!!

    Drink this wee bottle with me
    And with the last swally, you can kiss me
    Let;s hope there are no witnesses
    Just in case you might be embarrassed

    If one day, by accident, we bump into each other
    Don;t get scared or stand-offish
    Let’s just simply shake hands
    And then let people whisper what they want

    Nothing the years have taught me!
    I always fall into the same mistakes again!
    Once again to be toasting with strangers!
    And to cry over the same pains again!

    Drink this we bottle with me
    And with the last swally… we’ll go…

    Oh, could you ever have betrayed us like you just did?


  68. Optimistic Till I Die says:


    I’ve been happy to make out a small standing order to Bella to replace my occasional donations but (as I’m a pensioner and there are a lot of calls upon my spare cash) I’d appreciate it if – in due course, you could give some idea how much would be reasonable for individual subscribers to pay after taking into account how many subscribers you might have/expect and your financial needs. As others seem to be taking a similar route in order to counter msm bias and also deserve support I can foresee the day when I might be paying out a number of regular subscriptions so any guidelines would be appreciated.

    In the meantime, good luck to your endeavours.

  69. Onwards says:

    I think Facebook is going to take on far more importance.

    It is the easiest way online to get articles DIRECTLY to viewers, rather than have them visit a website directly.

    One good way would be a general Scottish current affairs page/magazine on facebook.
    News, sport, photos of Scotland, interviews, music and concert reviews, entertainment etc

    To get subscribers up.

    Then slip in the odd pro-Scottish political article.

    This is how tabloids influence people.
    They are bought mostly for light news and entertainment, sport, horoscopes and sudoku etc

    A purely politically weighted newspaper or site has far less readers.
    We need to reach regular people, not just the politically active.

  70. wayne anderson says:

    I have been no less than shocked at the bias from the mainstream UK media during the referendum. The bias and political alliance has made me aware of how manipulative and damaging it is for people who are dependent on MSM as their main source of info and news.
    Yes, there is indeed an urgent need for more independent and impartial media sources, which leads me to this post. Excellent idea, I wish you every success.
    I have another idea to throw in the mix – What about a radio station? There must be relatively low cost ways of setting one up, certainly in the cities. There’s plenty of young students and artists etc who would jump at the chance to get onboard. I’m thinking along the lines of Sunny govan, which I often tune in to on my Paisley-Bonnybridge commute. Folk love a low budget but diverse alternative to the same old BBC/Clyde/forth choice. I’m sure it would be a great platform for reaching the masses across all ages etc.
    I’m no media type, but just putting it out there.
    Good luck and keep up the good work.

  71. Gordon says:

    The world was watching the conduct of this referendum and I am sure they must have reported the perversion of democracy by big business, the BBC and the printed press to their readership and listeners on the continent and further afield. They must have seen the personal insults levelled against a democratically elected leader by various presenters from Andrew Marr to Jeremy Paxman. They will also have noticed the bland, untaxing interviews undergone by the NO camp leaders and compared them to the probing of the YES leaders and the inane interruptions of their usually informative answers. They were all there when Alec Salmond finally put down BBC political editor Nick Robinson in mid-flow of his disrespectful heckling. And they cheered.
    They must have compared it to watching the political campaigning in a newly independent dictator-led African state and formed their own opinions of British so-called democracy.

  72. Alison Brown says:

    Do I have to agree with Bella Caledonia mantra to be involved? That doesn’t sound like freedom to me. Reading some of the submissions I see on this site there’s little room for dissent or real inquiry. Everyone talks about some utopiaSo the new utopian media will be much like the old media, just s different set of actors?

  73. Alison Brown says:

    Having IT issues here – hadn’t finished /edited earlier post. Much of the comments talk about ‘unbiased media ‘ and reporting but everything I’m reading is biased towards one view of Scotland. So if I want something other than so called “independence” my views won’t be heard?

  74. John Ferguson says:

    I have been taken aback at the sheer ignorance and the poor ability of the mainstream media,. The ability to investigate combined with editorial bias. I am beginning to think less of conspiracy and more of incompetence. The newspaper editorials left much to be desired and reflected the lack of independence of the press, but that is almost to be expected but journalists have always assured us of their loyalty to the concept of freedom of expression and the neutrality of journalism. That freedom must be paired with responsibility sand that responsibility should include discovering the facts and understanding what is actually going on.

  75. Hi, its good article regarding media print, we all know media is a enormous source of data.

  76. WS says:

    Excellent way of explaining, and nice article to get data regarding my presentation focus, which i am going to present in school.

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